IDENTIFICATION AND USE: L-histidine is an essential amino acid that is required for the production of HISTAMINE. Histidine is a semi-essential amino acid (children should obtain it from food) needed in humans for growth and tissue repair, Histidine is important for maintenance of myelin sheaths that protect nerve cells and is metabolized to the neurotransmitter histamine. Histamines play many roles in immunity, gastric secretion, and sexual functions. Histidine is also required for blood cell manufacture and protects tissues against damage caused by radiation and heavy metals.

HUMAN STUDIES: Histidine is an alpha-amino acid with an imidazole functional group. It is one of the 22 proteinogenic amino acids. Histidine was first isolated by German physician Albrecht Kossel in 1896. Histidine is an essential amino acid in humans and other mammals. It was initially thought that it was only essential for infants, but longer-term studies established that it is also essential for adults. Infants four to six months old require 33mg/kg of histidine.

It is not clear how adults make small amounts of histidine, and dietary sources probably account for most of the histidine in the body. Histidine is a precursor for histamine and carnosine biosynthesis. Inborn errors of histidine metabolism exist and are marked by increased histidine levels in the blood. Elevated blood histidine is accompanied by a wide range of symptoms, from mental and physical retardation to poor intellectual functioning, emotional instability, tremor, ataxia and psychosis. Histidine and other imidazole compounds have anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-secretory properties. The efficacy of L-histidine in protecting inflamed tissue is attributed to the capacity of the imidazole ring to scavenge reactive oxygen species (ROS) generated by cells during acute inflammatory response. Histidine, when administered in therapeutic quantities is able to inhibit cytokines and growth factors involved in cell and tissue damage.

Histidine in medical therapies has its most promising trials in rheumatoid arthritis where up to 4.5g daily have been used effectively in severely affected patients. Arthritis patients have been found to have low serum histidine levels, apparently because of very rapid removal of histidine from their blood. Other patients besides arthritis patients that have been found to be low in serum histidine are those with chronic renal failure. Urinary levels of histidine are reduced in pediatric patients with pneumonia. Asthma patients exhibit increased serum levels of histidine over normal controls. Serum histidine levels are lower and are negatively associated with inflammation and oxidative stress in obese women. Histidine supplementation has been shown to reduce insulin resistance, reduce BMI and fat mass and suppress inflammation and oxidative stress in obese women with metabolic syndrome. Histidine appears to suppress pro-inflammatory cytokine expression, possibly via the NF-κB pathway, in adipocytes. Low plasma concentrations of histidine are associated with protein-energy wasting, inflammation, oxidative stress, and greater mortality in chronic kidney disease patients. Histidine may have many other possible functions because it is the precursor of the ubiquitous neurohormone-neurotransmitter histamine. Histidine increases histamine in the blood and probably in the brain. Low blood histamine with low serum histidine occurs in rheumatoid arthritis patients. Low blood histamine also occurs in some manic, schizophrenic, high copper and hyperactive groups of psychiatric patients. Histidine is a useful therapy in all patients with low histamine levels.

ADVERSE EFFECTS: Histidine might be safe for most people. Doses of up to 4 grams per day have been used in research without causing noticeable side effects.

SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS AND WARNINGS: not enough is known about the use of histidine during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

FOLIC ACID DEFICIENCY: if you have this condition, don’t use histidine. It can cause an unwanted chemical called formiminoglutamic acid (FIGLU) to build up in the body. Formiminoglutamic acidemia (FIGLU) is an inherited condition in which the body is unable to break down and process certain building blocks of protein, called amino acids. Individuals with FIGLU are also unable to produce a specific form of the vitamin folate, which has many important functions in the body. There are two forms of FIGLU which are classified in terms of severity. Both are associated with varying degrees of physical and mental disability.